By Matthew Chayes
NEW YORK — NYPD Commissioner William Bratton says he's driven over the edge by graffiti along the Long Island Expressway in Queens.
The top cop described Wednesday how jaunts to and from his Hampton Bays retreat are sullied when he spots graffiti scrawled on walls along the 14-mile stretch between the Midtown Tunnel and the Nassau border.
"I have a weekend house out in Long Island, and I go out of my mind when I go back and forth on the LIE and I see that . . . graffiti back again," Bratton said during a forum in Manhattan on crime control.
Bratton considers graffiti a harbinger of worsening crime and societal decay.
To stamp out graffiti on the LIE and elsewhere citywide, Bratton plans to examine the trend in the department's regular "GraffitiStat" meetings — modeled after the NYPD's CompStat crime analysis system.
One tool he favors is electronic surveillance.
"This is where the cameras will come in, the idea of mobile cameras, so that when we paint a wall over and some bastard comes back the next day and sprays his nickname or whatever else on it, I want to capture them on camera," Bratton said.
Although much of gang communication has shifted to social media, Bratton said, warring gangs continue to spray-paint predictions of mischief to come.
"Apart from just the vandalism aspect, the gangs, the crews if you will, use that to spread messages. That's how they mark their territory. That's how they convey threats to each other. "
Copyright 2014 Newsday
McClatchy-Tribune News Service